Source: sharedgrid.com

Good light­ing is the key to suc­cess not only for pho­tog­ra­phers, but also for those who shoot video. Of course, film­ing video can for­give some light­ing flaws, but if you want peo­ple to watch your videos from start to fin­ish, good light­ing is essen­tial.

In this arti­cle, we will dis­cuss the main types of light­ing for aspir­ing video­g­ra­phers and vlog­gers. We have already par­tial­ly touched on this issue in anoth­er arti­cle, but here we will delve into the top­ic of light­ing, which is suit­able not only for shoot­ing in the for­mat of a self­ie blog or prod­uct reviews, but also for the ini­tial requests of any video­g­ra­ph­er.

Two- and three-point lighting

Three-point light­ing is the stan­dard for most types of film­ing.

  • The main (key, draw­ing) light source: the strongest, it gives most of the light in the frame. It is usu­al­ly placed in front of the sub­ject, about 45 degrees above and 45 degrees to the right or left.
  • Fill Light: This is a soft­er light used to fill in the shad­ows on the sub­jec­t’s face. It must be placed on the side, oppo­site the main light. The inten­si­ty of the fill light is usu­al­ly about half that of the main light.
  • Back­light: This light illu­mi­nates the sub­ject from behind. It cre­ates depth and pro­vides a soft glow in the back­ground. The source is locat­ed above and behind the object (out of frame). There is also a back­light option where the back light illu­mi­nates the back­ground rather than the sub­ject itself.
Basic three-point sys­tem. Source: biteable.com

There are just three sources in the Ray­lab Solar 3B con­tin­u­ous light kit, which allows you to use this clas­sic scheme. In addi­tion to three flu­o­res­cent illu­mi­na­tors, the set has two stands and a crane, thanks to which you can posi­tion the lamps at the desired angle. And three soft­box­es will make the light more like day­light, we will dwell on soft­box­es in more detail below.

The Ray­lab Solar 3B con­tin­u­ous light kit is suit­able for cre­at­ing a three-point sys­tem.

If you’re just get­ting start­ed with light­ing or are on a tight bud­get, you can get away with the two-point light option, which only has a main light and a fill light. Although back­light­ing and back­ground light­ing add some depth to the scene, this is not a pre­req­ui­site for shoot­ing. The Ray­lab Solar 2 con­tin­u­ous light kit is a good starter option for this kind of light­ing. Unlike the pre­vi­ous kit, it does not have a third light and a crane stand, nev­er­the­less it is an inter­est­ing option to start.

In the future, you can always buy a third source and use it as back­ground light.

Of course, there are oth­er ways to arrange light­ing, but this is one of the basic options.

natural lighting

If you are shoot­ing out­doors or indoors with large win­dows, you can use nat­ur­al light. Pho­tog­ra­phers and film­mak­ers adore the gold­en hour in the ear­ly morn­ing and evening before sun­set for its beau­ti­ful­ly soft light­ing.

But the sun can be too bright, cast­ing harsh shad­ows on the sub­ject. In addi­tion, it moves by chang­ing the direc­tion of the light, and its inten­si­ty changes depend­ing on the cloudi­ness. All of these can affect the qual­i­ty of the light and give you dif­fer­ent mate­r­i­al. In addi­tion, in win­ter, when it gets dark ear­ly, you may sim­ply not have time to shoot every­thing you want­ed.

Many nat­ur­al light video­g­ra­phers like to use a vari­a­tion of the three-point light­ing scheme described above. The sub­ject is placed so that the sun is the main source, and reflec­tors are used for fill and back­light.

Scheme of using nat­ur­al light in a three-point sys­tem. Source: biteable.com

When the light is soft­er (for exam­ple, dur­ing the “gold­en hour”) the sun can be placed behind the object as a back­light, and reflec­tors are placed in place of the main and fill sources. In this ver­sion, you need to work quick­ly, until the light changes its pat­tern.

ring lighting

Ring light­ing is a sim­ple and afford­able option for close-up self­ie vlogs.

Ring light­ing is the main choice of beau­ty blog­gers. Source: keikolynn.com

These are sim­ple, afford­able and beau­ti­ful sources that cre­ate uni­form light. To start work, you need to place the cam­era lens in the cen­ter of the ring and point it at the mod­el’s face. If you’re shoot­ing with a smart­phone, many lights come with a mount in or near the cen­ter of the ring.

Ring lights cre­ate a min­i­mum of shad­ows and allow you to get an even skin tone. An inter­est­ing fea­ture is the beau­ti­ful round halos that they cre­ate in the reflec­tion of the eyes of the mod­el.

Ray­lab RL-0618 large ring light with smart­phone mount

The Ray­lab RL-0618 Ring Light comes with a stand, self­ie mir­ror and cen­tral smart­phone hold­er. This allows you to start shoot­ing imme­di­ate­ly, with­out the need to pur­chase addi­tion­al equip­ment.

Light for product photography

If you are shoot­ing video reviews of small prod­ucts, you can also get by with a sin­gle light source. Pho­tog­ra­phers often use light­box­es and spe­cial tables for prod­uct shoot­ing, but for video this equip­ment will be redun­dant. Com­pact LED illu­mi­na­tors can be placed direct­ly on the table, while the bright­ness of such devices will be much high­er than that of con­ven­tion­al table lamps.

The com­pact Ray­lab F002 table light is well suit­ed for prod­uct pho­tog­ra­phy

Ray­lab F002 LED illu­mi­na­tor is equipped with fold­ing legs: it can be placed on any flat sur­face and point the illu­mi­na­tor at the prod­uct that you talk about in your video review. It can also be used as a back­light for por­trait angles — the pow­er is enough.

LED panels

Quite often, LED pan­els are used for video shoot­ing. Depend­ing on the size, they can be mount­ed on a stand or on a cam­era shoe. Such pan­els can be used as the main light, or can be used to shoot video on the go.

On-cam­era LED pan­els are a com­pact alter­na­tive to large stu­dio lights. Source: videomaker.com

LED pan­els pro­vide con­stant illu­mi­na­tion and usu­al­ly allow you to adjust the col­or tem­per­a­ture. Many mod­els allow you to mount addi­tion­al mod­i­fiers and acces­sories on them, includ­ing fil­ters and soft­box­es.


Soft­box — allows you to soft­en the light from any fix­tures: you get light­ing that resem­bles light from a win­dow. To start a career, you can get by with one pow­er­ful light source with a soft­box and a reflec­tor.

Soft­box­es allow you to get soft­er dif­fused light suit­able for video. The image shows the soft­box­es from the Ray­lab Solar 2 kit.

For exam­ple, by attach­ing a soft­box to a Ray­lab RL-100 Sun­light 5600K LED light with a Bowens uni­ver­sal mount, you will get a fair­ly bright main light source. It should be posi­tioned 45 degrees from the sub­ject to the right or left of the cam­era. It is rec­om­mend­ed to addi­tion­al­ly place a reflec­tor to the side or slight­ly behind the object to soft­en the shad­ows. How­ev­er, for a more inter­est­ing and pro­fes­sion­al light­ing pat­tern, it is rec­om­mend­ed to use the three-source scheme that we talked about above.

Stabilization and additional equipment

Of course, to get a high-qual­i­ty pic­ture, you need not only good light­ing. Anoth­er crit­i­cal require­ment for pro­fes­sion­al-qual­i­ty video is its smooth­ness.

Steadicams can be used to cap­ture footage on the go, and a tri­pod is required for shoot­ing from a sin­gle point.

Choos­ing a tri­pod depends entire­ly on your needs: for sim­ple self­ie blog­ging, sta­bil­i­ty is the only impor­tant require­ment. Oth­er­wise, you can choose any mod­el you like.

Video Tri­pod Ray­lab RL-8018FS

For more com­plex cam­era work, when the cam­era is not aimed at one point, as well as for loca­tion shoot­ing, etc. suit­able for spe­cial tripods for video. So the Ray­lab RL-8018FS mod­el is equipped with a head that allows you to rotate the cam­era 360 degrees hor­i­zon­tal­ly, as well as tilt it for­ward and back­ward at angles from ‑70 to +90 degrees. The device can with­stand weight up to 5 kg, which allows it to be used with heav­ier DSLRs and pro­fes­sion­al cam­corders.

To make it eas­i­er to move stands and tripods, you can use spe­cial wheels for stands and carts.

You may also need a stu­dio stand to mount light­ing. And if you want to fix the illu­mi­na­tor on top of the object — a crane. To learn how to choose the right rack, you can read in our arti­cle.


Source: clipchamp.com

The qual­i­ty of light­ing is one of the key fac­tors when cre­at­ing a video. A clas­sic option that will suit video­g­ra­phers and vlog­gers who care about the beau­ty of the pic­ture is a light­ing scheme with three sources. Nat­ur­al light can be used as the pri­ma­ry source, but is less pre­dictable than arti­fi­cial light­ing. For a num­ber of sce­nar­ios, one light source is also quite suit­able: a ring light for beau­ty blog­gers, a table­top LED light for prod­uct reviews, and a cam­era light for shoot­ing on the go.

Soft­box­es can help soft­en harsh light­ing, which can be worn on one or sev­er­al sources at once.

In con­clu­sion, I would like to note that the search for a suit­able light­ing option is deter­mined, first of all, by prac­tice. Only based on your requests, with the help of tri­al and error (unfor­tu­nate­ly, nowhere with­out them), you can choose a scheme that best suits you and your audi­ence.